No question of tampering with EVMs, says CEC Sushil Chandra

Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh has suspended ADM Varanasi because he has not followed the procedures to inform political parties about the movement of EVM for training purposes, said Chandra in an exclusive interview with ANI.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra (centre) with election commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey. (PTI Photo)
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra (centre) with election commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey. (PTI Photo)
Published on Mar 10, 2022 06:38 AM IST
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Responding to the allegation levelled by Samajwadi Party on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), said that there is no question of EVM tampering as the Election Commission of India (ECI) has always maintained transparency.

Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh has suspended ADM Varanasi because he has not followed the procedures to inform political parties about the movement of EVM for training purposes, said Chandra in an exclusive interview with ANI.

CEC said that there is no question of EVM tampering. EVM are continuously used since 2004, by 2019 we have started maintaining voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) at every polling booth. 

After looking at them, EVMs are sealed in the presence of agents of political parties and their signatures are taken. Dealer EVMs are kept in a strong room under three-tier security. 

There are CCTV cameras installed in our side strong room for 24x7 surveillance. Agents of political parties also keep their eyes on the strong room, so there is no question of any type of tampering with EVMs and neither any EVM can be taken out of the strong room.

Chandra said that the question is raised on the EVM in Varanasi, which was meant for training purposes. The mistake of the ADM was that he didn't inform political parties about the movement of EVM for training purposes which was the standard operating procedure. Every EVM has some number. When people of a political party raised questions then we showed them the number of EVM, which was not matched with the EVM number meant for the poll. They found that the EVM number for the question that was raised did not match with the EVM numbers which were sealed and kept in the strong room for counting. After that they were satisfied. 

He further added that there are EVMs for training, demo purpose, some are kept reserved at sector magistrate in case there is any fault during voting to replace faulty EVMs. But we ensure that no EVM on which votes are cast can be taken out from the staff room.

Justifying the suspension of Varanasi ADM NK Singh, Chief Election Commissioner said, 'There is a standard operating procedure of EVM movement once polling is done. The procedure is to inform political parties prior to the movement of EVM, which was not done by the ADM, which created a rumour, so we were bound to take action on suspension against the ADM."

Talking about the preparation done for counting day, Chandra said, “Counting is always done in a very transparent manner. It has a standard operating procedure under which we conduct the counting. Those who are only the agents of the authorized political party are allowed to come inside the counting centre. If anyone has any doubt or problem, he can approach our observer. It is our whole process which is completely transparent."

After each round, the agent of political parties is given a list of calculations as to how much has been counted, the numbers of EVMs that are brought for counting is matched with agents of political parties, we have signatures of the agents and the strong room is under surveillance 24*7, added Chandra.

He further elaborated that EVMs are covered in 3-tier security. The agents of the political party outside the strong room are also monitoring there, video cameras are installed. Then the entire EVM is safe and at the end, there are 5 VVPATs in each assembly that we also count, so there is no discrepancy and it is totally transparent. 

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Monday, July 04, 2022